If you Follow/Like/Pin/Regram any yogi on social media, or subscribe to a yoga/workout/green/vegan/gluten-free/cruelty-free/dairy-free newsletter, or think about the newest/trendiest/most controversial way to eat or drink or apply to your skin the latest raw/cold-pressed/organic/phthalate- and paraben-free vegetable or fruit or seed or superfood from the Amazon, then you are probably MORE than a LITTLE BIT healthy.
One could even say, perhaps, MORE than a LITTLE BIT obsessed with health.
The other day, Garance Doré created a hilarious little health quiz to measure readers’ levels of health obsession (which in its most extreme form now has a scientific and diagnosable term: Orthorexia Nervosa.) In between recognizing my own deranged voice in hers and laughing at our shared paranoias, I was reminded that the key to wellness is… balance!
And balance means different things to different people. For Victoria Beckham, it means taking 60 vitamins and supplements per day. If you feel good on a vegan diet, eat that. If you feel happier as an omnivore, do that. If you prefer coffee to green juice? Cheers! The important thing is to feel good about your choices, and not let anyone shame you into thinking that to be healthy, you have to eat this or that, do this or that, believe this or that.
That said, here are a few of my healthy obsessions:
• Yoga (obviously!)
• Juice of half of a lemon with warm water every morning
There are claims that this concoction stimulates digestion, that it rids the body of Ama (toxins in Ayurveda) and that the Vitamin C helps with mineral absorption. I have read that none of that is actually, scientifically, true, but I still do it. Why? Because I like drinking a tart glass of warm sun in the mornings. For me, the positive effects are mostly mood-based and that’s good enough for me.
• Buying organic as much as possible
Whenever I can, I buy organic fruit, vegetables, dairy products and meat. I feel like this is good for me, and good for the environment. This is especially true of coffee and bananas -- the pesticides used on non-organic bananas, for example, are destroying songbird populations.
• Burn Palo Santo
Ever since one of my yoga teachers, Eric Stoneberg, burned a bit of this during a New Year‘s Day class, I have become obsessed with its “cleansing” properties. It is said to enhance creativity and chase away bad energy. Is this true? Does it matter? It smells good and I enjoy the ritual of lighting the stick, blowing out the flame and watching the smoke snake through my apartment while I chant a mantra quietly to myself.
No matter where you fall on the health obsession spectrum, it’s good to maintain a sense of humor and perspective about things! Life is too short. What do you do?